Former Vice President Mike Pence, who delivered a speech in Utah last week, endorsed Sen. Mike Lee in his bid for reelection Tuesday.
With the nation in crisis in so many ways, the Senate needs strong, principled conservative leadership, Pence said.
“My hope and my prayer is that when we reelect Sen. Mike Lee here in Utah, he’ll be part of a new Republican majority in the United States Senate to begin to steer our nation back to the policies that made our country strong and secure and prosperous during the Trump-Pence administration,” he said in a statement.
Lee said in a statement that he has worked with Pence as a congressman, governor and vice president, and that he shares “my belief that this race is about protecting the right to life, reigning in federal spending and fighting for conservative values.”
“I know him to be a principled conservative and I’m grateful for his endorsement,” Lee said.
Pence’s track record on endorsements in 2022 so far is mixed, and he hasn’t always been in alignment with former President Donald Trump. According to BallotPedia, Pence had endorsed nine candidates as of Sept. 7, including one other Senate candidate, incumbent Sen. Todd Young from his home state of Indiana.
Pence supported gubernatorial candidates Rebecca Kleefisch in Wisconsin and Karrin Taylor Robson in Arizona, both of whom lost in their Republican primaries. Trump-backed candidates — Tim Michels in Wisconsin and Kari Lake in Arizona — won those races.
In Georgia, he supported incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who easily won his primary over Trump-endorsed David Perdue.
Trump and Pence have endorsed the same candidate in at least three races — former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the Arkansas governor’s race and Iowa Reps. Randy Feenstra and Ashley Hinson in their reelection campaigns
Lee also now has the backing of both Trump and Pence, both potential presidential candidates.
During his speech at Utah Valley University last week, a student asked Pence if he planned to run for president in 2024. “I’ll keep you posted,” Pence answered without elaborating.
In Utah, Lee and independent challenger Evan McMullin are engaged in a heated battle. A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows the two candidates running neck and neck with six weeks to Election Day.
McMullin has picked up endorsements from national figures on both sides of the political aisle, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Steele was in Utah campaigning for McMullin earlier this month.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has also come out in support of McMullin, calling him “the genuine article” after the Utah Democratic Party voted to back McMullin instead of nominating its own candidate. Yang recently launched his own political party called the Forward Party.
In April, Trump endorsed Lee, while referring to McMullin as “McMuffin,” something he has done on other occasions.
McMullin took it in stride, tweeting, “When Trump gives you a nickname, you know you’re doing something right.”